With each new day, a new wave of social media features are added to the mix. As a marketer, all of us keep swimming faster, just to make sure we’re on the fastest bus.
I have been thinking about a few ways in which social media can help change the way marketing is done, in the short term. These are my three big moonshots:
1. The rise of business blogging on social media: While B2C companies have inundated Facebook and to a lesser extent, Twitter, B2B companies have been comparatively subdued. While there are good examples such as GE’s Ecomagination, they are far and few between.
The ability to publish within the platform, will help beat a key resistance for the audience: How much time do you spend on different websites, clicking through endlessly?
Business blogging on social networks, such as the platform you’re currently reading it on, will enable Businesses to capture their audience in newer ways, including pictures, infographics and other media. Long form content will emerge as a form of story telling, yet again.
As features get added, Businesses will have ways to gather leads, and target conversions with an identified set of customers, who also form their community. Facebook’s launch of Paper, and LinkedIn’s launch of the Business blogging community (for lack of a better marketing term) will help these platforms create walled gardens where the audience spends more time and share their engagement.
In other words, Seth Godin’s ‘permission marketing’ concept will get its proof.
2. Lesser dependence on Community size, more on engagement: Most companies have spent the last two years on increasing community sizes. With fatigue setting in on the ‘how large can we grow’ situation, both clients and agencies will set their sights on higher engagement. This will mean hard working content, and spends on reach. Yes, businesses will spend lower on acquiring Likes, Followers and similar metrics, and reach deeper for brand insights that genuinely connect.
I foresee a lower revenue for Facebook and Twitter on the Acquisition count this year, if they do break down revenue numbers. Caveat: This trend may be subdued to a larger number of small and medium enterprises joining the ranks of brand presence on these social platforms.
3. The year of the offer: E-Commerce, the real cash cow of the internet universe, will mature. As customers face an onslaught of ‘I’m as cheap as the next website’, E-commerce leaders will move to the next goal: rewarding smaller communities, ones they know add to their revenue the most. With BBM channels, Whatsapp getting acquired by Facebook, more E-Commerce companies will spend time slicing and dicing their customer base to provide hyper local offers, and often fulfilment, through these platforms.
Viber’s acquisition by Rakuten in Japan, and Android challenger Xiaomi’s use of SinaWeibo to sell phones directly through a chat app are early harbingers of this change.